No. 539.
General Sickles to Mr. Fish.

No. 918.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith a copy and translation of the address of General Jovellar on taking possession of the government of Cuba last month. It will be observed that the past five years are described as a period of conciliation, to be superseded now by a policy of combat, announced in the name of the government of President Cas-telar. It is, besides, significantly intimated that all discussion of political questions must cease, since it weakens the Spanish party and helps the common enemy. The abolition of slavery is to be a theme of continued meditation and study, which the planters have, it seems, already initiated, so that in due time a solution of the problem may be found which will reconcile the interests of labor, the rights of property, and the maintenance of production. Thus re-assured, the slaveholders are told to dismiss all fears of ill-considered and extreme measures.

The platform of the new captain-general is accepted, as might be expected, with unqualified satisfaction by the organs of the “Casino Es-paSoi.” The views expressed on this subject in my Nog. 730 and 902 are confirmed by this official and public avowal of the representative of the Spanish republic in Cuba.

I am, &c,


Address of General Jovellar on taking possession of the captain-generalcy of Cuba, November 5, 1873.

Inhabitants of the ever-faithful Island of Cuba:

The executive power of the republic has been pleased to confide to me the military and political command of this island. I arrive here at a time when, after an experience of five years, devoted without any definite results, as yet, to the conciliation of the conflicting extremes of one of the most difficult situations that can afflict any [Page 850] country, it lias become evident, bcyonft a doubt, that it is expedient and even necessary to subordinate all other questions to one alone—to that of the war.

It matters not that the insurrection, vanquished by force and exhausted by time, has lost a great part of the importance it had at the outset, nor that our means of action are to-day far superior to those which, through an excess of self-confidence, we were at the commencement able to oppose to the rebellion. The bravery and constancy of the army, the zeal and vigilance of the navy, the energy and dicision of the volunteers, are assured guarantees, in any case, for the success of a struggle which is only kept alive at present by the difficulty of penetrating to the lurking-places of the enemy. But while the fact remains that somewhere in the territory of the island a show of warfare is kept up, even though it be by wandering bands, heterogeneous in character and relatively few in number; while this fact serves to raise the hopes of unpatriotic Spaniards, and to force upon loyal Spaniards, not uneasiness, for their good judgment repels that, but the necessity of extraordinary sacrifices in their property and in their persons; while rural production, the main fount of our wealth, remains exposed in certain districts to devastation and conflagration; and while, in short, a pretext exists for gauging, by the false standard of its duration, the importance of a movement which in reality is already far gone in its decadence, there is nothing of so much interest and urgency for the public welfare and for the prestige and honor of the nation as there-establishment of the normal status of the island.

My purpose is, therefore, to subordinate all else to this consideration within the bounds traced by the laws.

The immense majority of the island maintains its nationality with a patriotism worthy of the highest examples of history, and before this fact all difficulties disappear; because on the sacred altar of our country there is offered the spontaneous sacrifice of a truce to all political discussion, which ever tends to benefit the common enemy by weakening the cohesion of the great national party; because the payment of taxes and all other treasury-dues will go on with increasing exactitude, so that the resources we now more than ever need may not be impaired; and because all of us will lend the most efficacious aid to transform our administration into a zealous agent of all legitimate interests, as is demanded by the credit and honor of each and all of us. In this way the political and financial question, which has so deeply impressed, and even alarmed, public opinion, will have an easy, simple, and speedy solution.

Meantime, social reform, that exigency of the present epoch imposed by the course of modern opinion, may and should still continue to be the object of special meditation and conscientious study. And, notwithstanding the war, this reform has initiated and is carrying forward the truest representation of agricultural interests, to the end that in due time a solution may be reached in terms which shall conciliate the change of condition of the laboring classes, the rights of property, and the maintenance of production, the protection of which for the general good of the country is the mission of all governments. Consequently all apprehensions based upon the belief that hasty and extreme measures would be adopted ought to cease and confidence should be revived, for without it the restoration of the public credit is utterly impossible.

Presenting ourselves thus, strong through our unity, rich through administrative morality, and energetic through patriotism, the present war can inspire us with little fear, for it is not the expression of an equal power contending for the triumph of a cause, but the desperate hope of delirium, trusting for success to our dissensions; let us destroy this hope, and the war will be at an end.

Lastly, all of you may cherish the assurance that, complying with the instructions of the government of the nation, I shall be untiring in my efforts to bring about peace and public prosperity, to protect credit, and to punish fraud with a strong hand; that I shall, in fine, with the utmost zeal, take care that none of the great interests Of the island suffer detriment while this command is held by—

Your governor and captain-general,